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"Dhoop"

IN THE land of the Modis, the Mahatma has to struggle for existence today. In the land of Kargil, the martyrs have to fight for posthumous dignity. "Dhoop" is a touching little tale of the valour of a Kargil hero without a line of xenophobia, a rare patriotic saga that does not equate patriotism with hatred for Pakistan. More important, it is a serious look into the lives of the family members of the martyrs.

This film is a satire on the system, which honours the martyrs, harasses their kin, extols patriotism, reviles patriots. No item numbers, no crude one-liners, this is a serious, sober venture that deserves serious attention.

Focussing on the travails of the family members of one such Kargil hero, it brings out the best in Om Puri as the hapless, idealistic father not ready to grease a few palms along the way to a petrol pump awarded by the Government. He has seldom improved upon his "Ardha Satya" performance. This is as close as he can get. Helped by an author-backed role, he is brilliant as the academic trying to come to terms with the sly world around him. He is ably supported by Revathy and refreshing Gul Panag as the ladylove of the martyred hero.

You would like Ashwini Choudhary's film, inspired from the life of Captain Anuj Nayyar who laid down his life so that we could live with dignity. You would like it if your heart beats for India. You would actually love it if you feel for the country going to seed.

ZIYA US SALAM

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